DUNSFORD UNITED CHURCH – TRANSCRIPT SERVICE – Sunday January 10, 2021

Baptism of the Lord Sunday

Kevin Fitzpatrick and Brenda Shield

* GATHERING:  Video “When Jesus Comes to Be Baptized” https://youtu.be/iVIU_K2nBVY

WELCOME AND CELEBRATIONS

In the name of a message of love and compassion in the world we know as Jesus Christ, we are guided by the Holy Spirit, God leads us here.

Wherever you are, God is with you, God is with me.

And God is in creation in all forms, everything good.

God is where God needs to be.

We come and celebrate together, our milestones, our successes, anniversaries, birthdays, and God celebrates with us!

LIGHTING OF THE CANDLES:

If you have a candle, I invite you to light it, or hold the light of God in your heart, knowing, that the light of God, burns brightly inside of you and glows and shines on those around you, when you are the hands and feet of God in the world.

We come today, knowing our Light has come, we light the Christ Candle, representing Christ in our lives, and that light that shines in our community. We take that light into our community and carry that light and do God’s work here as the light and the hands of God. And we carry our light out into the world, looking for other messages of love and light in the world, our neighbours, and the light shines brighter, to mend the world.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF THE LANDS:

We acknowledge, honour and respect this land and the Anishnabeg/Mississauga peoples with whom Treaty 20, Williams treaty, was signed, on the lands where we are, and we acknowledge also and give thanks for the lands and people of treaties and unceded territories of all who are worshiping. It is up to all of us to live into truth, respect, reconciliation and right relations.

CALL TO WORSHIP:

God who is known to many names, may your Spirit be with us, in everything we do.

We come as your people, witness to your love. Your voice echoes across the generations. As Jesus was baptized, we hear those words said in His presence, said to us, “This is my child, the Beloved, with whom I am well-pleased.”

We are named and claimed as your child as your love is everlasting, calls to all who believe.  We worship you this day and every day because of the love that names and claims us still.

HYMN: “Will You Come and Follow Me?” https://youtu.be/o469PRLdbHU

OPENING PRAYER

Creator God, creator of light, the giver of goodness, you breathe over the waters, your voice moves in creation. Transform us in Spirit. Immerse us in grace. Clothe us in mercy.  Your Spirit dwells and broods over the face of the earth, in every aspect of creation. You are the essence of the universe. Your Spirit emerges in patience, kindness, humility, generosity, benevolence, rebukes envy, boastfulness, pride, is never haughty, selfish, or rude, reproaches, anger, greed, and deceit, rejoices in truth and justice.

Breath and Wind of God, gentle is your voice, moving the hearts of the empathetic and sympathetic, singing that soothes in righteousness for the meek, and brings love to all who listen to the song.

Loving Spirit, breathe upon us again, speak of your compassion, whisper to our hearts, be our companion, comforter of our souls, Creator incarnate, in our presence, in creation, call us to faith in action and word. AMEN.

MINISTRY OF MUSIC: “Pray on The Little Days” by Mark Bishop https://youtu.be/eFup3os_dJc

WE HEAR GOD’S WORD

Psalm 29 Living Bible

Praise the Lord, you angels of his; praise his glory and his strength. 2 Praise him for his majestic glory, the glory of his name. Come before him clothed in sacred garments.

3 The voice of the Lord echoes from the clouds. The God of glory thunders through the skies. 4 So powerful is his voice; so full of majesty. 5-6 It breaks down the cedars. It splits the giant trees of Lebanon. It shakes Mount Lebanon and Mount Sirion. They leap and skip before him like young calves! 7 The voice of the Lord thunders through the lightning. 8 It resounds through the deserts and shakes the wilderness of Kadesh. 9 The voice of the Lord spins and topples the mighty oaks.[a] It strips the forests bare. They whirl and sway beneath the blast. But in his Temple all are praising, “Glory, glory to the Lord.”

10 At the Flood the Lord showed his control of all creation. Now he continues to unveil his power. 11 He will give his people strength. He will bless them with peace.

Mark 1:4–11 Living Bible

4 This messenger was John the Baptist. He lived in the wilderness and taught that all should be baptized as a public announcement of their decision to turn their backs on sin, so that God could forgive them.[a] 5 People from Jerusalem and from all over Judea traveled out into the Judean wastelands to see and hear John, and when they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River. 6 His clothes were woven from camel’s hair and he wore a leather belt; locusts and wild honey were his food. 7 Here is a sample of his preaching:

“Someone is coming soon who is far greater than I am, so much greater that I am not even worthy to be his slave.[b] 8 I baptize you with water[c] but he will baptize you with God’s Holy Spirit!”*

9 Then one day Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John there in the Jordan River. 10 The moment Jesus came up out of the water, he saw the heavens open and the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove descending on him, 11 and a voice from heaven said, “You are my beloved Son; you are my Delight.”

Questions for Reflection

What words or scripture sentences call to your heart or your faith?

Where does God’s voice or the Holy Spirit call to you?

How does the words “this is my beloved child, whom I am delighted” resonate with you?

LITURGICAL ANTHEM PRAYER: New Year Prayer 2021 – Prayer for a New Beginning

MESSAGE: “Listen! Can You Hear the Voice?”

I remember my baptism.

As a four-year-old boy, my parents took me to a large building, with this tall steeple and a cross at the top, I knew it was a church, I just didn’t know this was ‘my’ church.

It was the middle of the afternoon on a Sunday, and my family got all dressed up to go somewhere, which was rare on a Sunday afternoon.

My Dad worked all week at the factory, and at the farm, but at the farm he worked every day, and Sunday was his day of rest, other than the chores to be done at the barn.

And here we were in this great big church, just my family and myself, and as we entered the doors (large doors) I noticed the windows with different colours of glass that formed pictures, and most of these pictures had the same man, dressed in the same clothes, a long white gown, with a red sash, long hair and a beard, with a glowing white aura around his head

Some had him surrounded by others in the same sort of clothes, but this one man with the red sash was always in the middle.

Some windows pictured him with a baby lamb, and one had him praying, seeming distraught underneath a tree, in a garden.

And then I saw a statue of this same man, stripped down to just a clothed area around his waist, nailed to a cross, it was at the front of the church, and then I noticed the man at the front of the church, all dressed in black.

And it wasn’t Johnny Cash, I had seen Johnny Cash on television, and that was not him.

My family greeted this man and called him ‘Father’, but I had never seen him before, and I knew that wasn’t my Grandfather.

The man was pleasant and invited us to go into another room behind that disturbing statue on the wall of the nice man on the cross, who I felt sad for.

My sister was only a few months old, but she was all dressed in white, I had a nice shirt and pants on, usually meant for school or special occasions (picture day at school).

And we went over to a (sink?) in the middle of the room, and we all gathered around it, my brother, my parents who held my sister and myself.

And then this ‘Father’ took my sister from my mother and held her over the (sink?) and asked what her name was, which my mother said, the man repeated and scooped up some water with his hand, three times and said some words about another Father, and Son and Holy Ghost.

My parents seemed happy about that, and this man dressed in black, handed my sister back to my mother.

And then I was called over to the ‘font’ as they called it, I guess it was my turn to get washed, but I had a bath that morning, I thought I was clean.

AND then I heard the man say I was ‘baptized’ in name of ‘Father, Son and Holy Ghost’, this all seemed strange to me at the time.

I remember looking at the water in the ‘font’ as the water dripped over my head, I could see the water drip off my head back into the font, and I remember the coolness of it on my hair and head.

And the feeling that something special was happening at this moment that made my parents happy.

This is the way I remember my baptism, on a Sunday afternoon, in a Roman Catholic church, just my family and the priest.

Baptism is a sacred moment in the life of the church and supposed to be a ‘beginning’ for the believer, and it starts the path of faith for the infant, or maybe child, or adult.

And the believer joins a community who will support the journey of faith of the believer and support the family as extended family, we bring another member into Christ’s following into the witness of believers on that path of faith.

And that path of faith, is following Christ’s footsteps in a lifelong journey to hear Christ’s words, in teachings and actions to respond to God’s love for the world.

We read the words of Mark this morning, and maybe you have been witness to baptisms on this day, as we hear the story of John baptizing Jesus.

John’s declaration of the ‘one who cries out from the wilderness, that John comes before the one that he is not meant to be even a slave, that John baptizing with water, but One will come that will baptize with the Holy Spirit.

And Mark describes the heavens opening and the Spirit descending to Jesus like a dove and the voice of God.

“You are my beloved; you are my delight”.

Maybe you remember your baptism like I did, maybe you were an infant when your parents brought you into the church and had you baptized.

And for some, may have not been baptized yet and are still contemplating what this all means.

When we are baptized with water, we come to enter into the community of believers, to become one of the faithful in that community to vow to resist evil and follow Jesus Christ as Son of God, Saviour of the world, who was crucified, died, was buried and resurrected, ascended into heaven and will come again.

As Jesus started his Ministry in the world, as Mark states he goes into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil, and then surviving those temptations goes to call his disciples.

This first sacrament, calls the believer on a path of faith, guided by the community around them.

And it is the Holy Spirit that Christ baptized with, breathing it upon his disciples before his ascension into heaven, and at the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit comes upon Jesus’ followers again, like wind and fire to call upon those followers to go and preach the good news.

But where do we see the Holy Spirit coming to us, during my baptism, there was no extraordinary voice from heaven, I didn’t see any dove.

That nice man on the cross didn’t come to me to breathe on me, and I remember at the time I didn’t want anything to do with a ‘Holy Ghost’ whatever that was.

I do know that the day I was baptized was something special, and it meant much to me and my family, it is a memory that remains with me.

I look to the words of the Psalmist this morning, speaking of the voice of God, that speaks in every element of creation, in the thunder, it shakes the mountains, it rolls through the forests, it sweeps through the deserts, it is the breath of all creation as our Genesis story tells us, and Jesus used the cleansing water of the Jordan River in the wilderness to be baptized by John a child in God’s wilderness.

SO, where do we find God’s voice?

The Holy Spirit to me means that little voice that keeps nudging and nagging me to step beyond my comfort zone.

It shows me the places I am needed, helping others, being a consoling presence to friends or strangers, a helping hand to those who are struggling, a listening ear to those who need to unburden their heart.

And it can give us courage to do what we think is impossible, I can testify to this, lead by the Holy Spirit and God’s voice into Ministry.

Listening to God’s voice and stepping out in faith, to pursue a life of servitude and faithfulness, knowing God will provide and lead the way.

Sometimes it is being still, in prayer, or in the quiet moments that God whispers to us.

Sometimes it is during a moment when the world around us is in chaos and God comes to us and shouts what has to be.

How does God talk with people?

Boldly? Perhaps for some.

Through his Word, other people, circumstances? Sure, more likely.

And what if God is gentle and speaks through a whispered word. What then?

When God Whispers

The man whispered, “God, speak to me,” and a meadowlark sang.

But the man did not hear.

So the man yelled, “God, speak to me,” and the thunder rolled across the sky.

But the man did not listen.

The man looked around and said, “God, let me see you.” And a star shined brightly.

But the man did not see.

And the man shouted, “God, show me a miracle.” And a life was born.

But the man did not notice.

So, the man cried out in despair, “Touch me, God, and let me know you are here.”

Whereupon God reached down and touched the man. But the man brushed the butterfly away and walked on.

We can have a Conversation with God.

Conversation: A two-way dialog.

1. Listening.

2. Responding.

A simple process. And yes, there’s more. See below.

Hearing God

God speaks through His Word. Scripture. The Bible. “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” ~ Hebrews 4:12.

God speaks through circumstances. Such as Jonah, who failed to heed God’s direction and found himself in the belly of a whale.

“Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.”

~ Jonah 1;17.

God speaks through people. A word that is more than a passing conversation. Direct works that confirm his direction.

“David praised the Lord in the presence of the whole assembly, saying, “Praise be to you, Lord, the God of our father Israel, from everlasting to everlasting.” ~ 1 Chronicles 29-10.

God can speak through peace when allowed. Inner peace.

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.” ~ Colossians 3:15.

God also speaks through wise counselors. Proverbs repeatedly says to seek wisdom through the counsel of others.

“Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction; pay attention and gain understanding. I give you sound learning, so do not forsake my teaching.” ~ Proverbs 4:1-2.

When God Speaks, and Whispers

God speaks through dreams and visions.

“And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.” ~ Joel 2:28.

God speaks through our thoughts.

“He who forms the mountains, who creates the wind, and who reveals his thoughts to mankind, who turns dawn to darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth, the Lord God Almighty is his name.” ~ Amos 4:13.

God speaks through nature.

“Since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” ~ Romans 1:19-20

God speaks supernaturally.

“There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up.” ~ Exodus 3:2.

And God speaks through whispers.

“After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ ” ~ 1 King 19:12-13

So what are the many ways in which God speaks to his children today? Let me list several of them for you.

Audibly

Internally through the Holy Spirit

God’s Word (The Bible)

Dreams

Visions

Sermons

Bible Studies

Small Groups

Devotions

Words from Strangers (Often Angels of God)

Words from friends or family given to them by God specifically for you.

Songs

Christian Books and Novels

Through Physical Manifestations in Creation

Biblical numbers, Jewish Calendar, Words on T-shirts, signs, bumper stickers…. And the list goes on…..

Many ways will God speak to us through the Holy Spirit, we have to have our hearts open to that voice that calls to us

As we remember Jesus’ baptism and His call to Ministry, so our call to Ministry is through the Holy Spirit, nagging, nudging, guiding us to have courage, strength, faith

To live beyond our fears and encourage us that God is with us in all our endeavors.

Our baptism is the start of our journey, it is the community around us that guides us, nurtures us, works together with God’s help to breath the Holy Spirit on the world to do good as Jesus teaches us, to be God’s chosen, whom God is delighted with, to do the work that needs to be done in the world today.

Amen!

PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE

To God who welcomes all in love, let us pray for the good of the church and the concerns of those in need.  

Let us pray

God eternal, our life is held within your hands, shaped by your design long before we were born. You take hold of what happens and nurture within it what you wish it to be.

Like a wise mother, you give us guidance and freedom, and wise and caring you are, we praise and thank you.

Caught between joy and despair, we yearn for the fulfillment of God’s desire

beyond the brokenness and neediness of this life.  We offer thanksgiving for God’s presence with us and petitions for the transformation of the church and the world.

We remember those who suffer, from illness, loss, temptations, loneliness, oppression.

Be with them as they travel that dark road, be their guide.

We look at the leaders of this world who You have placed there.

Give them guidance as they make decisions to how the world should run.

We pray for this broken world who we have used for our own purposes,

Help us to be conscious in our decisions to be stewards and not masters of Your creation.

Help all your servants in all your churches and ministries, to be a whole and in unison of your purpose and help us to love one another as Jesus taught.

We come with names that need prayer, those in our community and those in our wider world, and we bring forward those names on our hearts knowing your presence is with them and with us.

We hold up those names today all who need prayer, and who are written quietly on our hearts…..be their comfort and healing.

Life-giver, Pain-bearer, Love-maker, day by day you sustain the weary with your word

and gently encourage us to place our trust in you.

Awaken us to the suffering of those around us; save us from hiding in denials or taunts that deepen the hurt; give us grace to share one another’s burdens in humble service. 

As we do so, let us pray the prayer that Jesus taught saying:

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever.  Amen.

WE ARE SENT OUT IN FAITH TO SERVE

HYMN: “Everywhere I Go” https://youtu.be/RiBacep6yzs

Scripture for next week

1 Samuel 3:1–10, (11–20) God calls Samuel.

Psalm 139:1–6, 13–18 (VU p. 861) God has searched and known me.

1 Corinthians 6:12–20 Your body is a temple of God’s Spirit.

John 1:43–51 Jesus calls Philip and Nathanael.

Resources:

A Big Thank You to Brenda Shield for music and videos

Pastoral Prayer : https://re-worship.blogspot.com/

Bible passages : https://www.biblegateway.com/


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